• I Saw What You Did

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: May 17th, 2016.
    Director: William Castle
    Cast: Joan Crawford, Leif Erickson, John Ireland, Andi Garrett, Sara Lane
    Year: 1965
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    The Movie:

    In William Castle’s 1965 film I Saw What You Did, pretty teenager Libby Mannering (Andi Garrett) invites her best friend, Kit Austin (Sara Lane), to come spend the night at her family’s country home, way out in the middle of nowhere. Libby’s dad, Dave (Leif Erickson), will be away for the night due to some business travel, however, and when her father John (John Archer) learns about this, he’s not comfortable with the girls spending the night alone. As a compromise of sorts, he allows Kit to go to Libby’s place but not overnight – he’ll pick her up at 11:30pm and drive her home for the night. Libby’s mom, Ellie Mannering (Patricia Breslin), isn’t so sure about her daughter flying solo until the next morning but Dave convinces her that it’ll be fine and so she accompanies him on his travels.

    Libby’s also got to be responsible for her younger sister, Tess (Sharyl Locke), but she seems okay with this. With the grownups gone and the house to themselves for a while, the girls decide to make prank phone calls to names and numbers chosen at random from the phone book. The first call is to a number belonging to a Steve Marak (John Ireland). When his wife, Judith (Joyce Meadows), answers the phone Libby pretends to be ‘the other woman’ and, unfortunately, she falls for it. Judith then goes to the bathroom, where Steve is in the shower, and they fight – eventually he kills her. In an act of perfect timing, their neighbor, Amy Nelson (Joan Crawford), shows up almost immediately after Steve has committed the ultimate sin. Amy is sharp – she figures out what has happened quite quickly and deftly uses that information to get what she’s always wanted out of Steve. Of course, the girls don’t realize any of this has happened, but when they call back and yell ‘I saw what you did’ into the phone when Steve answers, things get dangerous - particularly once the girls figure, hey, that Steve guy sounds cute. Let’s go check him out for ourselves…

    This one is all over the place but it’s a fun watch. The two teen actresses that handle the lead work – Andi Garrett and Sara Lane – actually do good work here. Their characters are likable enough, even if their penchant for prank calls is bratty behavior. They’re also clearly into guys at this point, that’s established early enough in the film that when they decide to get some easy thrills by wanting to check Steve out for themselves, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched. We know from that first call Libby makes, where Amy answers and Libby speaks like a sexed up vamp, that she’s wise beyond her years. Crawford is also a lot of fun here, as is John Ireland and, in a smaller role, Meadows. The odd relationship that evolves between Crawford and Ireland is a blast to watch and that murder scene, the one in the shower? Well, Castle’s penchant for borrowing ideas from other filmmakers is on full display there. It doesn’t take a film historian or Hitchcock expert to figure out where he got the idea, though to the director’s credit he gives it a neat spin.

    The movie has an interesting look. The black and white photography is reasonably atmospheric and there are some interesting sets put together here, along with a couple of very obvious matte paintings (they add to the charm). The cinematography is nice, it gives the film a nice look with a few unexpected but welcome gothic trappings. This actually works quite well. It might not have set the box office on fire when it played theaters and it won’t usurp the reputations of Castle’s better known and more successful pictures but it’s well put together, it features a great cast and it provides plenty of solid suspense.


    I Saw What You Did is presented in a nice looking AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen on a 25GB disc. Contrast looks very solid here and black levels stay strong. The whites never bloom or look too hot while detail and texture show a lot more than we've seen previously on home video and the widescreen framing looks very good. There is very little print damage here to note (the first couple of minutes show a fair bit more than the rest of the movie, things clean up nicely and quickly once we get past that part), the picture is very clean. There are no signs of edge enhancement, noise reduction or compression artifacts to complain about.

    The only audio option for the disc is a DTS-HD Mono track and, as stated earlier, it is the English language version. No alternate language options are provided but there are optional English subtitles included on the disc. Dialogue is clean and clear and the levels are properly balanced. There aren't any issues with hiss or distortion and for an older mono dubbed mix, the audio here sounds just fine.

    Extras are slim, limited to a still gallery and a pair of theatrical trailers. Menus and chapter selections are also included.

    The Final Word:

    I Saw What You Did is the kind of enjoyably overcooked B-movie fun that could only have come from William Castle. That said, as hokey as it is in spots, it’s also pretty well done and even if it borrows from other, more ‘respectable’ pictures, it tells a good story. Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release is light on extras but it does look and sound pretty nice. Recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. C.D. Workman's Avatar
      C.D. Workman -
      This is one of those awesomely awful movies that doesn't know whether it wants to be an in-your-face horror film or a television sitcom! I love it! The screen caps look good; I think I'm going to upgrade!